Adobe Stock / Sergey Nivens

Connected construction equipment is quickly becoming the norm at jobsites around the world. Major manufacturers are shipping virtually all of their new equipment with embedded telematics, and Berg Insights estimates that there will be 4.6 million such systems active by 2021. Manufacturers are already harnessing this data for quality improvement, predictive maintenance, and value-added digital services that they can offer to their customers. In addition, major equipment rental companies like Caterpillar, Sunbelt, and United Rentals are using telematics data to improve the rental experience and reduce costs for their customers.

However, construction equipment data can generate even more value when it is available to an even broader ecosystem. Here are eight emerging use cases that we are seeing.

Todd Brockdorf, Americas Solutions Architecture at Otonomo.
Todd Brockdorf, Americas Solutions Architecture at Otonomo.

1. Equipment theft prevention and recovery
According to the latest theft report published by the National Equipment Registry in the United States, construction equipment theft is a $400 million to $1 billion problem in the U.S. alone. The most commonly stolen equipment types are mowers, tractors, loaders and backhoes.
Only 21% of stolen equipment was recovered in 2016. Location data from connected equipment has the promise to significantly improve that statistic, and geo-fencing can help companies detect crime as it is happening.

2. Accident reconstruction
Some of the most serious construction accidents involve heavy equipment. Information about the movement and condition in equipment at a particular point in time could assist with accident reconstruction and help companies, insurers, and public agencies to establish best practices that reduce the incidence of future accidents.

3. Insurance underwriting
Connected equipment data can also support insurers in their effort to provide accurate underwriting and fair premiums to the construction industry. Underwriters might want to use location data and movement, equipment utilization, operating behaviors, or other data points to more precisely characterize risk.

4. Predictive maintenance
Thirty-four percent of fleet operations and fleet management professionals cite equipment and vehicle maintenance as one of their top two expense areas, according to a global survey published by Teletrac Navman. In addition to the predictive maintenance initiatives driven by OEMs like Caterpillar and John Deere, there is a whole ecosystem of software providers and aftermarket servicing facilities that could provide valuable offerings to construction companies based on equipment performance data and trouble codes. This data could even generate leads for independent equipment servicers.

5. Fleet management and optimization
Connected equipment data promises to improve many aspects of fleet management, from equipment deployment to maintenance planning. For many companies, effective fleet management involves the coordination of assets from multiple OEMs as well as rented equipment, which makes up a big part of the market.

6. Fueling services
While large job sites have economies of scale when it comes to fueling, smaller sites experience a lot of inefficiency from refueling. Connected equipment data opens up new business opportunities for smart fueling services that could deliver fuel to jobsites just when it’s needed.

7. Lead generation
Construction suppliers want to stay abreast of opportunities in the geographic territories they serve, and there’s no better indicator of economic activity than an excavation in progress. Lead generation algorithms could detect the type of work being performed in the local area by identifying active construction equipment and suggest products and services to help the job get done.

8. Economic trend analysis for financial services
Construction is an important signal of economic activity in a geographic area. As such, connected construction equipment can provide inputs into algorithms that financial services companies and public agencies use to predict future economic activity and trends.